Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 20 July 2018, 13:55 NZST
  • Still current at: 29 February 2020

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Exercise normal safety and security precautions

Exercise normal safety and security precautions in Cuba.

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There is a risk of both petty crime and violent crime (including assault and robbery) in Cuba and we advise New Zealanders to be alert to their surroundings, especially in Havana.

Pickpocketing and bag snatching occurs, particularly in tourist areas and on public transport. New Zealanders are advised to take steps to safeguard and secure personal belongings and avoid wearing or displaying items that appear valuable, such as jewellery, cameras and mobile devices.

Car-related theft occurs from time to time. Criminals have punctured car tyres and stolen belongings while offering to assist. Ensure that valuables are kept out of sight and do not pick up hitchhikers. Criminals have also been known to pose as fake tour agents and taxi drivers. You should only use registered taxis and established tour operators. No resistance should be given if you are the victim of a theft or carjacking as this could lead to an escalation in violence.

Particular care should be taken with luggage at airports in Cuba as theft from checked baggage has occurred. Ensure valuable items are not packed in checked baggage and keep your luggage locked.

Civil Unrest
Demonstrations occur occasionally in Cuba and may disrupt local public services and transport. New Zealanders in Cuba are advised to avoid all demonstrations, protests and large public gatherings as even those intended as peaceful have the potential to turn violent with little warning.

General travel advice
Travellers visiting Cuba often have difficulties accessing their money. Credit cards and travellers cheques are not widely accepted and the availability of ATMs to withdraw cash and money transfer services is limited.

While we advise you check with your bank before travelling to confirm that your debit, credit or ATM cards will allow you to withdraw cash or pay for things in Cuba, New Zealanders are advised to take enough cash (US dollars – which may incur a 10% exchange fee, Euros, British pounds or Canadian dollars) to last throughout the duration of your stay in Cuba. This advice applies irrespective of whether your bank confirms that your cards will work in Cuba. Ensure you have a variety of ways of accessing your money.

New Zealanders are advised to keep their passport in a safe place and carry a photocopy at all times for identification purposes.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Cuba are required by Cuban law to have a valid travel insurance policy, including medical coverage, in order to enter the country.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include lengthy imprisonment or fines.

Professional photographers may need an import permit for their photography, as there are strict laws around unauthorised professional photography. Further, photography of military or police installations is prohibited, and could result in detention. There are also restrictions on the use of drones. If in doubt, don’t take a picture.

Hurricane season runs from June to November and can coincide with heavy rains. In these instances landslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Cuba is also located in an active seismic zone.

New Zealanders in Cuba are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

The New Zealand Embassy Mexico City, Mexico is accredited to Cuba

Street Address Jaime Balmes No 8, 4th Floor, Los Morales, Polanco, Mexico D.F. 11510 Telephone +52 55 5283 9460 Fax +52 55 5283 9480 Email Web Site Hours Mon - Fri 0930 - 1400, 1500 - 1700 hrs

See our regional advice for the Caribbean

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Accredited New Zealand Embassy Mexico

Street Address
Jaime Balmes No 8, 4th Floor, Los Morales, Polanco, Mexico D.F. 11510

Telephone: +52 55 5283 9460

Fax: +52 55 5283 9480



Hours: Mon - Fri 0930 - 1400, 1500 - 1700 hrs

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